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JAPAN NUCLEAR DISASTER - a perspective
Sometimes major truths come in a Nutshell!
Observing the events in Japan during few terrifying hours in March, 2011, we cannot help to notice that the collaboration between Nature phenomena and Man activities have long-lasting, highly destructive results for our Species and all the other Species, generally for Life on the Planet.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the highly-constructive, long-lasting results of the activities of another Species, the Squirrels, combined with Nature activities: the fresh air and the supply of Oxygen vital for all Species, including ours and for the Life on the Earth.
Without being fatalists, there are few events so explicit with regard at our very limited capacity to predict and prevent the negative effects of our own doings, to fully understand the consequences and to do anything when the Nature acts, than the March,2011 events in Japan. We were watching horrified and helpless the force of killing and destruction during this relatively small furry of Nature, in vain trying to use all our Human might to stop the spread of irreparable damage due to our man-made nuclear power; we were just another Species on the Earth.
It was a cruel irony the fact that the nation hit this time by atomic power was Japan, the only nation that experienced already the destructive force of nuclear power.
It could be another cruel irony -this time on all of us- if our Species will reach a point to wish that there are many more Squirrels, their large number at this moment being one of the main reasons for their suffering. Also unimaginable at present, this is a likely scenario.
If the events in Japan will repeat themselves at a Planet scale any time in the future, the accumulated nuclear material will be potent enough to destroy the Life on Earth -including our own Species- for a very long time. Some of the Species that will contribute at Planet recovering in a very far future are the Squirrels. As more Squirrels, as better the chance for Life to survive and to thrive again on the Earth.
It can be that simple!
When we will learn to value, appreciate and love Squirrels we will be able to find appropriate solutions to preserve the Life on Earth. Until then, the March, 2011 events in Japan may be just the beginning!
September, 2011, Toronto
In September, 2011 in Toronto took place the first continental conference organized by the Association for Fur-Bearing Animals.
The main topic was what we can do to get along with species of Wild Animals that live within our communities, including Urban Wildlife , such as racoons and Squirrels. A professional hair-dresser with close knowledge about beavers offered sensible solutions to deal humanely with this species. The examples brought in the Urban Wildlife category were the case of a Toronto man who beat savagely a baby-racoon and the case of another torontonian that was using rat-traps to kill Squirrels. Was an agreed conclusion that the ignorance plays an important role.
Another agreed fact was that the killing of Urban Wild Animals by the property owners will not solve anything, as other Wild Animals from the same species will replace them soon.
The solution that was found as being more appropriate was to starve to death the Wild Animals by depriving them of easy access to food, with the hope that their numbers will shrink.
As usually, the Squirrels were mentioned briefly, as in North America they are nor regarded as a species of much value or interest. The Urban Squirrels is the most abused among other species of Urban Wildlife, most often due to the powerful Property Legislation that gives the owner of property the right to dispose at his will of the Wild Animals on his property, with a very slight mention 'to be in a humane way', the widely supported concept that they are 'like rats' or 'tree-rats' because they are rodents and the lack of protective Legislation. 'A humane way' includes poisoning and drowning.
Here is the case of this Toronto woman who put a trap in her attic to catch Squirrels nesting there during baby-season; the mother would not go in trap because she had babies there and, also she senses the danger, there was not another place , and not possible to take her very small young. The woman closed the attic, leaving them to die there. Desperate, hungry and thirsty, unable to feed her dying babies, the Squirrel made damages in the attic, so the woman opened and put the trap again. Facing no other choice than to die together with her babies, the mother-Squirrel finally went in the trap and left the babies behind. The woman's husband took the trap and released the Squirrel far from 'their property', while the woman's guests suggested to drown her in hot water in the trap, so she will never come back again. The attic was closed and the still alive babies were left there to die. Also this may be shocking to some readers for its ignorance, brutality and inhumanity, this is 'a humane way' if applied to Squirrels. As a fact, it is very common to trap the Squirrels in attic with their young and let them to die there. Sometime is just satisfied hate. Is never punished and does not raise an eyebrow.
Another case of 'humane way' is the case of the priest that was routinely trapping Squirrels on Church property and drowning them in the sink while in trap. That was what he learned from St. Francis's teachings , that the best way to treat God's Creatures -the Animals- was to drown them and to watch them fighting in trap for the last breath of air. So God help us! A real example of ' Christian spirit of compassion and kindness'! Is regrettable that he is not the only Church servant with this kind of behaviour. As long as is legal....is OK.
The issue of the most importance is the lack of protective Legislation for Urban Squirrels against humane abuse and the lack of trained professionals and viable methods to deal with Urban Wild Animals -specifically Squirrels, in 'a real humane way', so we can all get along.
'A real humane solution' is the Controlled Sterilization applied periodically in overpopulated areas. The main counter-argument is that is costly. We spend large amounts of money for minor issues such as plastic bins, etc; we must spend some money for our Urban Wild Animals if we want to all get along and maintain a humane, moral and civilized standard.
They are part of Planet's Biodiversity and we will not be able to find appropriate solutions to deal with complex Global Biodiversity and Environmental issues if we are unable to deal properly with the Wild Animal in our backyard. Like the trees their ancestors helped to plant in parks and gardens, the Squirrels are an integral part of our immediate Environment and will not dissapear or perish. We love them or not, we have to learn to ...live with it.
Humanely, civilized and peacefully!
DISCOVERY - BIG NEWS
To the attention of our researchers
In the Patagonian region of Rio Negro, Argentina, was discovered recently the fossil of an unknown creature, a small sabre-toothed mammal similar with Squirrels. The discovery includes two partial skulls and jaws of a mammal very similar with Squirrels, with a length less than 15 cm and large eye sockets, narrow snout and extremely large teeth- fangs about 5 mm long, one-fifth the length of its head.
This animal was , most likely, eating insects , grubs and small vertebrates and was pray for crocodiles and carnivorous dinosaurs. Probably was roaming around at night in order to survive among very large carnivorous.
It is believed that was roaming the Earth more than 93 million years ago, during late Cretaceous period (about 144 to 65 million years ago), sharing the Planet with many other animals such as large herbivores, large carnivorous dinosaurs, terrestrial crocodiles, turtles, sphenodontians and snakes in an area that was often flooded, which probably drowned the animals.
A graphic image resembling this creature is Scrat, the sabre-toothed Squirrel in the movie Ice Age.
Is this creature the oldest-known ancestor of Squirrels?
If so, it will provide a source of very interesting research and findings for those interested in Squirrels. It will shed light in some unanswered scientific questions and perhaps will emphasize once again the major importance for Planet of this very small mammal : the Squirrel, and will bring more focus on why we need to protect them.
Two sets of valuable publications are currently available.
A professional manual for Squirrels' Rehabilitators has been published in 2007 by the USA National Wildlife Rehabilitators' Association and can be reprinted at http://nwrawildlife.org/reprints.asp
A set of books written by USA Dr. Ray Greek bring solid scientific arguments to prove that the medical research done on animals it is not only of very little value, very often works against the humans. Among many examples, is presented the case of two medications of major importance for humans that were introduced for use decades late, due to the misleading results obtained by using research animals. These were the Penicillin and Polio Vaccine.
Dr. Ray Greek is the founder of Americans for Medical Advancement, a non-profit organization and his books are :'Animals Models in Light of Evolution', 'Medical Research with Animals','FAQ About the use of Animals in Science. A handbook for the scientifically perplexed' , ' Are animal models predictive for humans?'.
As my grandfather used to say: there is one important universal law that we are borne with and we are unconsciously aware of it all of our lifetime :the Ethic of Life.
The above work is written by experts in their fields and is very good and very helpful reading.
If you love Squirrels and happens to be in Toronto, don't forget to visit St. Lawrence Market, as is the store-of-choice for all Squirrels' lovers in Toronto.
Recently the old Market, operating since 1803 was ranked as the world's best food market by National Geographic in its book Food Journeys of a Lifetime.
At the basement level, in a corner, you will find Domino's Food Store, with its variety of superior quality nuts at a very competitive price and with its wide selection of the finest foods. There you will meet two wonderful ladies, Sonja and Kew, that will help you to discover new specialties from around the world.
To reach the Market get-off from the Subway at King Station, then walk to Church and Front Streets. Is open every day excepting Sunday and Monday.
Congratulations to the Market for its election!
THE CHESTNUTS TREES ARE DYING IN MASS IN EUROPE
(Source:Metro Toronto Newspaper)
The process began about a decade and spread accross Europe, with cities such as Paris(France), Cambridge(England), Ghent(Belgium) looking helpless at their majestic trees cherished for generations perishing under their eyes. The attack is attributed to two deadly agents: leaf-eating larvae produced by moths which leave the tree with weak foliage and weak fighting system and a bacteria that attacks the trunck from inside. By mid July, while all the other trees have their crown green and are in full Summer life, the Chestnut's foliage is dead, dry and brown-colored.
This is not the first recorded time in modern history when the Chestnuts die in mass in a large area, killed by a parasite or disease; a similar occurrence happened at the turn of 20 Century in eastern USA when a fungus killed all of the Chestnuts. The European Chestnut -horsechestnut-was introduced in Western Europe from Balkans about 500 years ago;also it is not a native Species, adapted well mostly in cities and became over centuries loved and cherished by population. It contributed in special ways in peoples' life , as was in the life of Anna Frank, who, under tremendous hostile circumstances, being in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, was cheered up by the sight of a Chestnut. It is a lot to say about the positive, true power of Nature.
The European Chestnut story shows that the non-native Species are not necessarily negative in long-term, also the short-term effect may be negative; as such, we should not hurry to take actions against the introduced Species, but concentrate to find solutions to deter the immediate effect, that may be negative. This refers in particular to the current conflict in Europe involving an introduced Species of Squirrels , the Grey Squirrels and the native Species, the Red Squirrels. We love them both, we just have to look for the ways to stop the fight.
The European horsechestnut, like the Chestnuts from the Chestnut family, is of particular importance for Squirrels and the Squirrels are even more important for the Chestnut. Their relation consists in the fact that , while the Squirrels is one of the many birds and mammals Species consuming its fruits, it is one of the very few Species that plant the Chestnut, giving it life. Being her home and her food, the Squirrel loves the Chestnut-tree, as she loves all the trees.